Shortness of Breath/Difficulty Breathing

Shortness of breath occurs when breathing requires more effort than usual. People who experience shortness of breath describe it as tightening in the chest, feeling the need for air, and even a feeling of panic and suffocation.

Signs of severe breathing difficulty include:

  • A rapid heart rate
  • Gasping for air
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Wheezing
  • Cyanosis – where the hands and feet turn bluish because of lack of oxygen.

If you find it hard to breathe, stay calm and try to find the source of the problem. It could be triggered by allergies or pollutants in the environment. Some people have difficulty breathing while exercising or exerting themselves physically, if this occurs slow down or stop the activity all together. If you experience shortness of breath, try to relax your muscles, don’t panic, and consider the causes.

If your breathing difficulty continues to worsen, go to the emergency room immediately.
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